How Can Urinary Incontinence Be Prevented?

Is there a solution to urinary incontinence? this article looks at what some of the health experts say on the possible prevention's.

Many of us have a urinary disease often referred to as urinary incontinence, without actually knowing. In the UK alone, it’s estimated that urinary incontinence alone affects between 3 and 6 million people, and women are twice more likely to experience it as men. Actual figures are not known.

So how can we help prevent urinary incontinence?

There are innovative surgical and drug choices for treating potential urinary incontinence, which experts suggest are only masking over the importance of other preventative methods that are more cost effective and healthier for patients, physiotherapists are warning. Exercising on a regular basis certainly helps to prevent urinary incontinence, but other methods also need to be adopted and it seems that many do not take the problem very seriously or even think about it, until it affects them personally or someone they know. 

Recently, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) stated that botulinum toxin A (Botox), drug treatments and surgery should be used in order to combat urinary incontinence.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) also added to the NICE association’s statement by saying that NHS health commissioners should act upon the advice suggested by NICE and that pelvic floor muscle exercises should be used as the first stage treatment for stress and/or mixed urinary incontinence.

Correct Treatment for Overactive Bladders

The suggestion of using botulinum toxin A, made by NICE, involves using a bladder wall injection treatment for women who have overactive bladder symptoms and that have not responded to other treatments such as, drug therapy etc.

Professor Mark Baker, the director of the Centre for Clinical Practice at NICE said in a statement: “Urinary incontinence is a distressing condition affecting the lives of millions of women of all ages. This updated clinical guideline suggests a range of treatments that women should be able to access to limit the distress that urinary incontinence can cause.”

The Bladder and Bowel Foundation agreed with the statement made by Professor Mark Baker.

Incontinence Taboos

Due to the updates and comments made in regards to treatment measures of urinary disease, the CSP called for a greater emphasis on preventing the disease as apposed to drugs, injections etc.

There was a 16 month pilot scheme at 7 sites across England that enabled women to refer themselves and be treated using physiotherapy methods. This was deemed a success due to the speed of treatment available and this certainly helped a great deal in terms of helping the patients to combat urinary incontinence and the symptoms.

 Ruth Hove, a professional health adviser at the CSP, said in a recent statement: “There are a range of options available for tackling continence issues but simple measures like pelvic floor muscle exercises must be more heavily promoted”.

“They are proven to be clinically and cost-effective and our scheme showed that enabling a person to access physiotherapy without first seeing a GP meant they started receiving help straight away.

“For many women this is a significant emotional barrier to overcome – feelings of embarrassment and shame are often reported, which can affect their day-to-day lives and lead to social isolation.

“It’s understandable that people find it a difficult subject to discuss, but that’s why it is so important to promote the help that is available from physiotherapists.”

“The NHS must invest in and raise awareness of services such as self-referral physiotherapy to help us tackle the hidden tragedy of incontinence.”

End Result

On the face of it, exercise seems to be a good way to help those with urinary incontinence and therefore, could help prevent urinary incontinence now and in the future; however, only if people take the disease seriously enough to want to prevent it.